Research Diary

Changing Chalk Talk/Walk

July 27th

Last booked talk, introducing changing chalk.

Met Gary Webster and Jennie Smith. Discussed project and possible collaborations. Going to follow up on return from break.

Gary Webster works for NT. Is in charge of Downs from above aspect of the project.

Changing Chalk project is 18 projects overall looks at wellbeing and people, by connecting the ‘Downs and towns’.

Area was formed during the Cretaceous period (100 million) by minute shells of marine organisms. 50 million pushed up out of sea by African and Eurasian plates pushing into each other. This formed the chalkland down. Then stripped back of trees by humans in neolithic period to create unique chalkland environment.

As a side, north and south downs used to be one, but the centre was worn away to create the weald.

Chalk grassland is very biodiverse. There can be up to 40 species per square metre that butterflies, flies, etc… rely on. This is an internationally rare habitat. Oh and apparently it also is good at retaining heat.

New location name: Butts meadow, below beehive plantation. Good butterfly location.

Jennie Smith, chatted to. Is part of Railway Land trust in Lewes ( Working to connect the urban fringe with Butts brow (and Downs). Looking at practical conservation.

Challenges of how to get community up on Downs, but mental health benefits are good.

One way going to do this to have a ‘trundling hub’ (?) to enable people in mobility devices to experience the Downs.

Also looking at ‘Greening the city’ by bringing new areas of wildlife to urban spaces.

Follow up:

Look at Plot 22 in Hove, Director, Emma –